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11 best gym bags for women

Tote your workout gear in style with a practical but chic carrier

As an essential part of your get-active arsenal, functionality of your gym bag is key ( The Independent/istock )

Whether you’re a complete gym newbie or a firm fitness addict with an existing routine, choosing the right gym bag is a big decision. Having major quad goals means you need to look and feel the part too. Long gone are the days a staid, boxy holdall was the best you could wish for, today’s best gym bags are very much statement bags too.

Whatever your workout looks like – yoga, crossfit, spinning or weights – your gym bag needs to work hard for you. There is an essential tick list to consider upfront: will everything fit in, is it practical and comfortable, and does it fit in with your lifestyle?

As an essential part of your get-active arsenal, functionality is key. But you don’t have to sacrifice style by any means, and your gym bag can even be environmentally responsible these days too.

With options for every budget from large to small, we’ve curated the best of the crop. This indispensable guide to the best bags out there will have you sprinting to the gym.

You can trust our independent reviews. We may earn commission from some of the retailers, but we never allow this to influence selections, which are formed from real-world testing and expert advice. This revenue helps to fund journalism across The Independent.

Adidas favorite tote bag: £59.46, Adidas

If you love multifunctional, the Adidas favorite tote gym bag ticks all the boxes. We found it ideal for that office to gym transition and loved the combination of style and practicality. The bag has a sporty-feel with soft stretchy neoprene-like fabric, and strong waterproof lining, but with a lovely understated, embossed outer print, inspired by Stella McCartney.

We liked the adjustable strap that takes you from tote to backpack in seconds, and the inner padded sleeve which keeps laptops secure. The cleverly designed pockets, for water bottles, trainers and valuables are also well placed. A great, mid range gym bag that combines looks and performance.

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Nike gym club training bag: £26.95, Nike

If you want an affordable bag with plenty of space for your kit, this is a really good option. We did find it a bit tricky to squash into the gym locker, but it felt durable and lightweight, and after a day at the gym ticked the breathability box, with zero unpleasant odours – even with used gear sitting in it all day.

Nike's offering is a water-resistant, low-cost buy, with a handy choice of carrying options (long strap or short handles), dual zipper and enough interior and exterior pockets to keep you happy.

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Sandqvist fusion range marta bag: £155, Sandqvist

This uber-cool Swedish brand is all about sustainability, which gets a big tick from us. Crafted from organic cotton and synthetic fabric made from recycled fibres, even its leather details are from environmentally friendly tanneries. The matching cork yoga mat is biodegradable too. It’s by no means cheap, but if you want to feel virtuous before you’ve even hit the treadmill, this is for you.

The sleek and minimal Scandi design gives this a nice edge over other bags we tried. Compact yet roomy inside, it was easy to fit in a small gym locker, and we loved the multiple ways to carry, from tote to backpack, and the hooks for your yoga mat.

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Under Armour storm undeniable 3.0 medium duffel bag: £36, John Lewis & Partners

The third evolution of Under Armour’s popular duffle bag is a great buy. It's durable, water resistant and fully abrasion resistant, everything stayed dry despite our tester being caught in a downpour, and it didn’t scuff when thrown around on the locker room floor.

The only cons we could find were the padded shoulder strap is not removable, and we would have liked a couple more pockets internally, but the bag is light yet solid and has a great vented outside pocket for whiffy trainers. It's a reliable buy that won’t break the bank.

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Sweaty Betty luxe kit bag: £95, Sweaty Betty

The label every fitness addict loves is behind this kit bag that’ll take you from work to workout. Three cleverly designed sections coped really well with the demands of our gym session, keeping valuables, keys, trainers and kit well ordered and accessible. The waterproof lining is perfect for used gym gear and it’s roomy enough to stash away your laptop. Slick zip fastenings make it easy to grab and go and the versatility of carrying it on the shoulder or as a carryall is a plus point.

Straps for a yoga mat are neatly tucked away underneath which are great for keeping your hands free. This one is glam enough to rock up to the bar with after your work out too.

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The North Face base camp duffel: £60, The North Face

For the ultimate gym survival bag, The North Face’s duffel is a durable contender. It features a zip mesh storage bag which takes care of used or wet clothes and we loved the d-shaped zip lid, which makes it so easy to rummage in. It took a while to get used to the strap system, but you can switch from shoulder strap to ergonomic, backpack style.

The brand's renowned water resistant fabric and double stitching make it perfect if you have heavy kit. If you want something that feels like it could go three rounds with the GB Boxing team, this one is for you.

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Lululemon city adventurer backpack: £98, Lululemon

This neat little backpack from Canadian yoga-inspired brand Lululemon is incredibly lightweight and easy to stash away at the gym. It comes with a built-in pocket for sweaty gear, but we did find it a bit of a squeeze getting everything in on workout and swim combined days. But if you like to train light then this is perfect. Nice details include a specially designed phone pocket at the back, and a handy inner compartment for sweaty gear.

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Tiba + Marl weekender camo bag: £140, Tiba + Marl

 

 

Sometimes you just want a voluminous holdall to throw your gym junk in. If this is your style, we recommend this fun offering from Tiba + Marl. The slightly eye-watering price is off-set by really great storage, with no less than eight pockets inside, including two bottle holders at each end (one insulated) and plenty of clever corners for keys and kit.

Be warned, you may not want to get it soiled it’s so nice. But it does double up as a fabulous weekend bag too. Who says going to the gym can’t be stylish? We loved the soft, padded feel of this one. As chic as a workout bag gets.

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Reebok enhanced active grip bag: £32.95, Reebok

Whilst this certainly isn’t the most luxe of gym companions, the Reebok active grip training bag did score well for basic workout practicality. It's really lightweight and features an external water bottle compartment, a front easy-access pocket and four inner pockets for organising your clothes and trinkets.

It also has ventilation points which meant there are no lingering smells post-workout. There's no long strap with this one which is shame, and not a lot of structure to it, but if you don’t mind that, it’s a really good cheap and cheerful option.

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Domyos cardio fitness bag: £14.99, Decathlon

With multiple compartments, two types of carrying strap and six storage pockets for everything from your ID card to your padlock and trainers, this bag is brilliant value. Extremely roomy, it does exactly what it says on the tin, and for £14.99 that’s a lot. Although slightly flimsy in structure – we found we had to keep propping it up when looking for items – it is reinforced and abrasion resistant, and certainly looked fine still after a day of bumps and scrapes to and from the gym. We loved this as a cheap and chips option that is still fun and functional.

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Bando work it out gym bag: £24, Bando

This fun zip-up is a real eye-catching addition to your workout. You may struggle to squeeze in a large pair of box-ercise gloves with all your kit, but we found it perfect for a light gym session.

It comes with comfy cotton webbed handles and smart gold press studded side pockets, which are ideal for phones and water bottles. And the best bit? You can even thread your ear buds through the lining so you can listen to music on the go. We’d have liked more internal pockets, but it is so pretty you’ll get a lot of compliments (we did). This bag is guaranteed to turn up the fun factor on your gym visit.

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The verdict: Gym bags for women

For us, Adidas’s favorite tote gym bag comes out as our fitness favourite, for the way it effortlessly combines clever practical design with style. The Domyos cardio fitness bag also comes up for special mention for the sheer bang you get for your buck – being extremely good value for a gym bag. And if you want to really splash the cash then Sandqvist’s marta bag, with its sustainable and eco-friendly atttributes, is highly recommended.

IndyBest product reviews are unbiased, independent advice you can trust. On some occasions, we earn revenue if you click the links and buy the products, but we never allow this to bias our coverage. The reviews are compiled through a mix of expert opinion and real-world testing.

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